A Rant On The Understandability Of Women

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 16.884% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

There are certain writings that are, at their core, all pretty much the same.  Teenaged love poetry.  Rants about work.  And, of course, the ever-popular “Women are a mystery” lament.
Here’s the latest one I stumbled across last week in a post on relationships:
“ATTENTION. any man who thinks he understands a woman is out of his mind. we have to accept them as they are in all their glory, misery, etc.”
Every time I see this, I want to yank the balls off of the poster and throw them in a river of estrogen.
Look.  I am a dude.  (Seriously.  Look between the cleft in my legs for my credentials.)  I have dated women, some say too many women, over the years.  And this is the wisdom I bring you from afar:
Women are – and this may astound you – humans.
They are not aliens sent here from another force, they are not goddesses who stepped down from heaven, they are not some mirror-universe biological force of evil sent to dazzle men’s minds.  When I talk to women, I find they are largely driven by the same psychological impulses that drive us all.
Now.  They have different concerns, and if you are such a narrow-minded moron that you cannot see that “Does not like football” is not equivalent to “Mysterious ethereal being,” then maybe you need to work on your skills.  Perhaps because men have been treating women as a distinct race all these years, their needs and desires do often diverge from what men busy themselves with.  They tend to be more concerned with appearance on the whole (I’m pretty sure that if someone told guys, “You have to hand your keys and wallet off to your girlfriend because there’s no pockets here, but your ass will look cute,” we’d laugh ourselves into a vomit-frenzy), and they often have some understandable insecurities about, you know, an entire media structure devoted to telling them that they’re only worthwhile for their tits and ass.
This does not make them unreachable.  You can understand a woman in the same sense you can understand any other human being – which is to say imperfectly, with eddies of startlement and surprise (“Really?  You like Hannah Montana, Phil?”), but good enough to be a solid friend.
But getting to that stage involves being the sort of person who is willing to fathom concerns that are not your own.  If you go, “Oh, she’s upset about me going out with the boys tonight, what a silly thing,” then guess what?  You failed the fucking test.  If you go, “Hrm, she’s someone who generally seems to be reasonable, and as such there’s probably some underlying psychological concern of hers, like, I dunno, maybe the fact that I come home stinking drunk and demanding sex at three in the morning every time I go out” – then you’re probably Winning.
The point is that this kind of talk is a bullshit excuse guys tell themselves because it’s easier.  Hey, if you just say that women are ephemeral and/or crazy, you don’t have to bother with absorbing another world view, amiright?  And you can just continue working women like safes, enduring all of their dumb stupid wimmen-things because that’s the only way to get pussy.
Then you wonder why they’re a little irritable sometimes.


  1. Mishell Baker
    Nov 28, 2011

    I think the other half of the “women are complex and mysterious and men are so straightforward and simple” myth is that men are brought up not to examine their own complexities. Feelings? Stuff ’em down. Cognitive dissonance? Wait, that’s a progressive rock band, right?
    Men, from the time they are able to walk and talk, are told to “man up” when they skin a knee, to “go play outside” when they have questions, and are encouraged and praised when they do simple, physical activities. Little girls get eye contact, they get their facial expressions read, they get their questions answered, their tears dried.
    By the time a boy is ten years old he has learned that if he has any complicated feelings he should think about something else, ASAP. By the time he’s twenty, he’ll swear up and down that he has no complex feelings, and he’ll even believe it. Because he has no way of accessing them anymore, after years of reflexively shunting them down the “ignore me” tube.
    So yeah, women are not as complex as men pretend, but neither are men as simple. If you know a simple man, you know a man who has completely lost touch with himself, because human beings are just fucking complicated.

    • TheFerrett
      Nov 28, 2011

      If you know a simple man, you know a man who has completely lost touch with himself, because human beings are just fucking complicated.


  2. CJ
    Nov 28, 2011

    I respect you a lot, for the things you write here and the things I’ve seen you write other places. But the idea that we can look between your legs to prove anything about your gender is essentialist and transphobic. If you say you’re a dude, who are we to question you? You don’t need more credentials than that.
    But what a fucking dumb construct our society has made of gender. As if two monolithic groups were playing some sport in an event called The Privilege Bowl. Hearing things about what ‘women like’ or what ‘men want’ makes my skin crawl.

    • TheFerrett
      Nov 28, 2011

      If you say you’re a dude, who are we to question you? You don’t need more credentials than that.
      It’d be nice, and I don’t agree that it’s a bit of privilege-gaming, but my hope is that, perhaps, one of these yahoos will stumble across this article, and when I write to convince them I don’t get involved in larger issues. And for them, the genitalia is in fact the only thing that defines them.
      Now me, I think it makes them narrower, but “who are we to question you?” is the exact sort of question that would make them dismiss everything else I had to say. That said, it is a broach, for which I apologize.

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